Professors Receive Kolmer Applied Research Award

October 3rd, 2019

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presented applied research awards to two professors. Tom Isenhart and Anna Johnson received the Dean Lee R. Kolmer Award for Excellence in Applied Research at the college’s convocation in September.

The Kolmer Award is named for a former college dean and honors faculty or staff who have made significant contributions to improving the welfare of Iowans through research. Lee Kolmer and his wife Jean established the award. Kolmer served as dean of the college for 14 years beginning in 1973.

Isenhart, a natural resource ecology and management professor,  is known for getting research results to the public. He has built partnerships with landowners, farmers and agencies to improve water quality.

Since 1990, he and other Iowa State scientists have shown the benefits of conservation buffers. One result is central Iowa’s Bear Creek, which is a well-known conservation demonstration site and officially one of 12 National Showcase Restoration Demonstration Watersheds.

Isenhart and his colleagues pioneered research in developing saturated riparian buffers as a more effective water quality tool for tile-drained watersheds. He helped establish the state-federal partnership to develop Iowa’s first-in-the-nation program for water-quality wetlands through the  Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.

Isenhart received his B.S. degree in botany and environmental studies from Iowa State in 1983 and his master’s and doctorate degrees in water resources from Iowa State in 1988 and 1992.

Along with teaching and research he advises the Iowa State Forestry Club and the student chapters of the Society of American Foresters and Pheasants Forever.

Anna Johnson, an animal science professor, also received the award. Her research is focused on farm animal behavior and welfare. Johnson is on the forefront of formulating programs, educational tools and assessment criteria to ensure farm animal health. Her research addresses animal handling, sow longevity and management.

She began her career at Iowa State in 2005 after serving as director of animal welfare for the National Pork Board.

She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Reading in 1995, master’s degree in animal behavior and animal welfare from the University of Edinburgh in 1997 and her doctorate in animal science from Texas Tech University in 2001.

Johnson is an active member of the development team for the Iowa Farm Animal Care program and continues to offer services as a member of ISU’s On-Farm Evaluation Team, particularly in response to cases involving pigs.


Tom Isenhart, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, 515-294-8056,
Anna Johnson, Animal Science, 515-294-2098,
Barb McBreen, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service, 515-294-0707,